Gov’t ramps up bed capacity, testing amid rise in infections

(File photo)

MANILA – National government will increase hospital bed capacity, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing and vaccination for record daily Covid-19 infections.

The incumbent spokesman for the President, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, said the Sub-Technical Working Group (sTWG) of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on data analytics recommended implementing an increase in the availability of bed capacity in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the surrounding area Areas (NCR Plus).

NCR Plus consists of the NCR and the nearby provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan and Rizal.

He said the IATF-sTWG also recommended coordinating with relevant stakeholders to incorporate capacity monitoring of Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs) into their measurement of health systems capacity.

Nograles noted that the task force proposed ensuring that dependent patients are referred promptly and appropriately, as well as re-evaluating the capacity of TTMFs, increasing TTMF capacity if necessary, and removing all referral rates from hospitals.

He said the Department of Health (DOH) Field Implementation and Coordination Team (FICT) and the National Task Force (NTF) Health Facility subclusters had been directed to communicate immediately with NCR hospitals to determine how bed capacity was being affected by Covid- 19 is assigned.

The NTF Healthcare Facility Subcluster, along with the DOH Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service, has been directed to increase the capacity of telemedicine and telemedicine outside of NCR, he added.

The One Hospital Command Center was advised to ensure the timely update of the capacities of the health systems based on the functional bed capacity to take into account the level of available health workers.

Functional triage areas

Nograles said the IATF sTWG on Data Analytics hired the Community Response Cluster and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to ensure that emergency response centers with functional triage areas are in place in all local government units (LGUs).

These triage areas are designed to monitor patient navigation so that only those who need to be hospitalized are brought to the healthcare facilities.

They are also instructed to ensure that those in isolation or quarantine at home are monitored by Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams and that they have access to testing, treatment and referrals to facilities, especially for the elderly, those with comorbidities or vulnerable sectors.

They are also designed to intensify active case finding in the NCR Plus areas and to intensify active case finding and contact tracking strictly up to the 3rd generation in all areas of alert level 2.

Covid-19 tests, vaccinations increase

To handle the influx of tests, Nograles said the IATF sTWG on Data Analytics recommended that the Covid-19 lab network increase RT-PCR testing capacity in NCR Plus by ensuring the labs are up and running seven days a week are.

The IATF sTWG also recommended prioritizing seniors and people with comorbidities or those on the priority lists A2 and A3.

It was recommended that applications for operating licenses for new RT-PCR laboratories be accelerated.

The IATF sTWG was also asked to immediately provide raw materials for wiping and testing.

The National Vaccination Center was also directed to increase vaccination rates outside the NCR “as soon as possible”.

To date, over 50 million people in the Philippines have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.


Meanwhile, Nograles urged symptomatic Covid-190 patients to isolate immediately to help slow the spread of Covid-19 infections.

On the other hand, people with mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 can isolate themselves in their own four walls.

However, he said LGUs should be able to offer services like telemedicine and instant referral so that those in need of additional management can be assessed and treated appropriately.

On Sunday, the DOH reported 28,707 new Covid-19 cases – the highest daily cases since the pandemic began – bringing the total number of cases in the country to 2,965,447. (PNA)

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